Stars

The star HD 186302 at the center (Image courtesy CDS Portal/Simbad)

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes the discovery of a twin star of the Sun. It’s HD 186302, studied by a team of researchers led by Vardan Adibekyan of the Instituto de Astrofísica and Ciências do Espaço (IA), in Portugal, starting from the data collected by the AMBRE project that collected about 230,000 star spectra, along with other data collected by ESA’s Gaia space probe. HD 186302 is really similar to the Sun not only as an age and chemical composition but also in mass and size and this offers hopes that it has planets similar to the Earth.

Artist's concept of Barnard's Star and its planet Barnard’s Star b (Image ESO/M. Kornmesser)

An article (link to PDF file) published in the journal “Nature” describes the discovery of a possible super-Earth orbiting the Barnard’s Star, a red dwarf that in astronomical terms is in the neighborhood being about 6 light years away from the Earth. The Red Dots and CARMENES projects led to the discovery of what was named Barnard’s Star b and could be the second exoplanet closest to the solar system after Proxima b.

Hydrogen in the Small Magellanic Cloud (Image courtesy Naomi McClure-Griffiths et al, CSIRO's ASKAP telescope. All rights reserved)

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” describes the study of a gas outflow from the Small Magellanic Cloud that extends for at least 6,500 light years from its star formation area. A team of researchers used the ASKAP radio telescope to observe that dwarf galaxy in its entirety in a single shot with details never seen before. The conclusion is that there’s a gas loss resulting in a drop in star formation. That gas could be a source for what is known as Magellanic Stream and over time the Small Magellanic Cloud could be devoured by the Milky Way.

The origin of star clusters observed thanks to the SOFIA airborne telescope

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes the study of molecular clouds where new star clusters form. A team of researchers used the SOFIA airborne telescope exploiting its ability to detect infrareds coming from dark clouds where the first stages of star formation are hidden. The observations offered new evidence that star clusters form as a result of collisions between giant molecular clouds.

The 2MASS J18082002-5104378 system in the rectangle (Image courtesy ESO/Beletsky/DSS1 + DSS2 + 2MASS)

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” describes the discovery of a tiny star whose age was estimated at around 13.5 billion years, making it one of the oldest stars in the universe. A team of astronomers studied the star known only as 2MASS J18082002-5104378 B, whose mass is only 14% of the Sun’s, and in particular its composition discovering the very low metal content. The conclusion is that it’s almost completely formed from materials created after the Big Bang.